Rishabh Pant would be the better choice as keeper for the remaining three Test matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy according to the former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.
Wriddhiman Saha’s failure in the Adelaide Test where he scored 9 and 4 has fueled the debate on who should be India’s wicket-keeper batsman for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne which starts December 26 against Australia who are 1-0 up in the 4 Test series.
Committee Was Clear That Rishabh Pant Will Be First Choice Wicket Keeper In Australia Or England: MSK Prasad
MSK Prasad pointed out that India cannot compromise on batting strength to have a ‘specialist keeper’ in the team as the selection committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be a first-choice keeper in English or Australian conditions unlike in India where there is no need of superior batting prowess after number six slot.
News agency PTI quoted him as saying: “Look, our committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be our first-choice keeper in places like England and Australia. Only when we are looking at matches in India where you don’t need batting after number six most times, you can have a specialist keeper.”
MSK Prasad added that Rishabh Pant’s form going to the Test series as he scored a century in pink-ball practice game gives him an edge over Wriddhiman Saha.
He further stated: “I believe Rishabh has worked on his fitness issues during the past month and looked in good touch during the pink ball practice game. So I would agree with the team management if they give Rishabh a go for the next three Tests.”
Questions were raised over Wriddhiman Saha’s selection over Rishabh Pant for the first Test at Adelaide despite the latter’s blistering hundred in the second practice game at Sydney. Rishabh Pant scored 103 unbeaten from 73 balls.
Rishabh Pant Has A Superior Batting Average Than Wriddhiman Saha
36-year-old Wriddhiman Saha managed only 9 and 4 in the two innings at Adelaide. He played a loose stroke to be dismissed in the second innings as India registered lowest Test score of 36 when someone was needed to occupy the crease and play long innings. To make matters worse, he also dropped a couple of tough chances behind the stumps besides failing in both innings.
The argument against Rishabh Pant has been that his wicket-keeping skills are not yet up to the mark. However, his Test batting record is much superior to Wriddhiman Saha.
While Wriddhiman Saha averages 29.09 from 38 Tests, young Rishabh Pant has an average of 38.76 from 13 Test matches. Further, Rishabh Pant has a Test hundred at the warm-up game at Sydney, and also managed to get under the skin of the Aussies during the 2018-19 series with his cheeky comments behind the stumps. He registered 350 runs averaging 58.33 in that 4 match Test series.